Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) announced $11.6 million for the Ventura Harbor dredging project. The FY2016 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work plan includes $7.33 million for the current project, which is already underway. The President’s FY2017 budget request includes $4.3 million for dredging Ventura Harbor next year.
Due to this year’s unprecedented El Nino currents, more sand has built up at the Ventura Harbor entrance than would otherwise have occurred in a normal year, resulting in the temporary closure of the harbor. Throughout the year, Brownley has worked closely with the White House and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that funding for the annual dredge was included in the President’s original FY2016 budget. She also shepherded the funds through Congress, which passed as part of the FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The dredging contractor arrived at the harbor on Saturday, after delays due to weather and sea conditions. Today’s announcement of that total of $7.33 million for the current project is $2.5 million more than the President’s original FY2016 request.
“Since coming to Congress, I have been working diligently with the Ventura Harbor Board of Commissioners to ensure sufficient funding for annual dredging of the Ventura Harbor, but more sand has built up at the Ventura Harbor entrance because of this year’s unprecedented El Nino currents,” said Brownley. “I am so pleased that our efforts have been successful in securing additional funds for the current dredge, which will ensure the channel remains navigable and protect Ventura Harbor’s estimated $246 million total economic activity in our region.”
“The Ventura Port District is thrilled to learn that the FY2016 work plan includes additional funds for the current dredging for Ventura Harbor, and that the President’s FY2017 budget includes $4.3 million for the FY2017 dredging effort. These funds will enable the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform a complete dredging of the Ventura Harbor entrance channel area and will therefore have a very positive effect on the commercial and boating interests that are dependent on that entrance channel. We are grateful for all the efforts made by Rep. Brownley in support of Ventura Harbor,” said Ventura Port District General Manager, Oscar Peña.
“The City of Ventura is thrilled to learn that additional funds for the dredging effort in the Ventura Port District have been included in the FY2016 work plan, and that funding is also included in the President’s FY2017 budget for next year’s dredge. Not only is the Ventura Harbor enjoyed by recreational boaters, but it is also is an important economic driver as a source of jobs and helps contribute to the vitality of Ventura. It is also the gateway to the Channel Islands, a part of the National Park Service,” said Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko.
Ventura Harbor is the homeport for the U.S. National Park Service, providing access to the Channel Islands National Park System. The park’s mainland visitor center receives 300,000 visitors annually with 30,000 visitors traveling to the islands and another 60,000 use park waters. Ventura Harbor also services the largest squid fishing fleet on the West Coast with revenues of $50 million. Its commercial and recreational fishing directly employ 600 crew members, truck drivers, and laborers with an additional 300 employees in nearby processing facilities. A recent economic study indicated that Ventura Harbor has a total economic impact of $246 million.